Saturday, October 22, 2016

Half a century...seriously?

 A reunion is a time to see people you haven't seen in a long time.

Fifty-four years IS quite a bunch!

This was a get together in San Diego with about 60 former and retired editorial staffers from the Union-Tribune newspaper.

Some worked for either the afternoon Tribune or the morning Union.

Some worked for the combined paper after the merger which meant the Tribune was no longer a separate paper.

I was a staff photographer from 1962 to 1969 and often started the day on a story for one paper and ended the day "working" for the other.

The above photo shows photographers L-R:  me, Thane MacIntosh (a 40-year veteran at the paper), Phil McMahan (who started the year before me and who led the Photo Lab after Thane retired) and Joe Holly who came to the paper right after I had left and gone to Los Angeles.

We all benefited from a newsy newsletter that was emailed almost every day to members of the 919 GANG.

Editor Jack Reber has compiled and distributed that online for more than a decade.

The Gang's name came from the street address of the paper's entrance at 919 Second Avenue when it was still downtown before I left and it later moved out to Mission Valley.

It seemed appropriate to shoot these "vintage" photos in black and white.

Rex Salmon came up with the idea of a reunion and issued updates as names came in from people who wanted to gather and see and chat with old buddies.

Not sure, but I may have flown the longest distance.

I was coming to my daughter's delayed wedding reception in Oakland on Saturday and the timing meant I could then fly down to San Diego for the festivities there on Monday afternoon.

I remember putting together the very first Photo Lab Christmas card, er, I mean, Season's Greetings photo holiday card in 1966.

Looking back 50 years, we were a good looking crew and I am very glad at least a few of us showed up for the reunion.

Another photo staffer who did come - Andy Brown - apparently was part of the lab but I didn't recall him until I dug up this card and saw his face. Sorry, Andy!

There were lively conversations about The Union vs The Evening Tribune before and after the merger in 1992.

There was fierce competition between the two papers operating out of the same building.

We might go out on an extended search-and-rescue as I did and each of the 3 days I was camped on site, my coverage would shift from one paper to the other as deadlines passed. I had to keep quiet about leads and details that I saw through the 24-hour cycle.

We photographers were encouraged to keep an eye out for a stand-alone feature photo that would be suitable for a caption-only use.

My young son got in the paper a lot - as did other photographer's children - when a space needed to be filled.

While in town for the U-T reunion, I drove up behind a car with a personal license tag and I snapped a picture.

I did not bother to get any quotes or comments from the driver. I believe his name is Randolph.

I am sure the Photo Editor would have declined to use it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

I am glad I was in California and close enough to attend.

It was quite a weekend, a wedding soiree on Saturday and time travel on Monday in San Diego, going back half a century. Wow.

Of course, San Diego Bay had to be in color as I flew back up to Oakland.

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Friday, October 07, 2016

Here's the "BEFORE".....

 So, the carport was assembled and anchored in less than an hour.

Long augered rods were bored into the ground.

Attached by sturdy nuts and bolts.

A verbal guarantee and assurances that it will withstand storms and winds...I think. The workmen spoke Spanish.

The comfy deck chairs now are inside - much to the cat's delight - to keep them from in place and not blowing around.

She likes the introduction of "outside" smells.

Life for an indoor cat can get boring, I understand.

The rest of the deck has been changed from vertical to horizontal.

Less of a "full sail" effect as Hurricane Matthew barrels up the coast, driving people off the barrier islands and the Lowcountry.

All three counties - Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester - are below sea level so a storm surge is a realistic danger, underscored and evidenced by beach erosion.

The first-ever I-26 lane reversal seems to have worked very well. Close to 150,000 residents were reported to have been aided by this change.

Cars were bumper to-bumper on Sept. 14, 1999, during the Hurricane Floyd evacuation, while the incoming lanes on Intersate 26 were virtually empty. Motorists complained that the inbound lanes of I-26, should have been open to outbound traffic.During evacuations in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, distressed drivers looked longingly at the empty and unused lanes heading into town

So this long-rehearsed reversal change was made.

But, you did have to pay attention when the Eastbound lane was converted to Westbound.

If you got on the "left side" on the usual Eastbound lanes, you faced an unusual problem.

That side of the interstate had no working exits (well, DUH!) so when you got on, you stayed there until you reached Columbia, the capital, 105 miles away from the dangerous coast.

So I stayed home to ride it out.

I am 12-miles from the coast in an area that has never flooded. The nearest river is a few miles away so I don't expect to be bothered by the storm surge .

Sure do hope I'm right!

(Click on the photos and link for more details.)

Stay safe!

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Wednesday, October 05, 2016

"It droned on and on and on.."

 Having a mini-copter hovering overhead - with a camera pointing down - seems to be the new way to picture a scene.

I've had a varied and long career in photography but have not bought a drone copter . Yet,

Saturday was the 9th annual Scott Kelby World  Wide Photo Walk, and 20 members of my photo group in Charleston, S.Car., were among more than 1,100 participating cities all around the world.
We always submit a group photo, and this year - for the first time - member Joseph Nienstedt brought his new drone and did a smooth flyover to take an aerial view of us standing before a local landmark in the "Holy City," so named because the view from offshore showed many, many steeples.

This fountain is shaped like a Pineapple, the symbol of hospitality, and is one of two beautiful fountains at our Waterfront Park, which overlooks Charleston harbor.
I grew up hearing that this is where the Ashley River and the Cooper River come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.

Made sense to me as a kid growing up downtown in an historic city.
As Leader of the group, I am able to submit one picture into competition with more than 1,100 of my peers.

I entered a view of a fountain's rushing water caught with a fast shutter speed as it streams past a church steeple in the background.

Two years ago, one of our members placed in the Top Ten and received about $650 in prizes.

Yes, he owns the drone and he used it to create a clever video and submitted it. Hope Joseph wins again!

After the photo walk, we had lunch at Tommy Condon's and repeated something we have done each year - place all the cameras on the table.

What an impressive pile of money!

Of course, with ALL the cameras on display, we had to use our Smart phones to grab the moment.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

We also took a "traditional" ground level
group shot.

That's Doug DeLong hustling into the frame.
His camera had only a 2-second timer setting  before the shutter snapped.

Yes, he made it into the picture!


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

"We are the SUFFERS, and, we're from HOUSTON!

Kam Franklin, the lead vocalist, told us to listen carefully.

And, she said, we were to shout back the answers.

Who are we?
The Suffers, we answered, er, shouted out loudly.

Where are we from?

We yelled out the city name we had been told: Houston!

Then all 7 members of the Suffers started playing their 3rd Coast Soul Music and the crowd started some serious dancing.

I have seen dancers before at the Pour House, but this crowd of people was REALLY into this sound, a mixture of Cajun, African-American, Mexican and white,

They twisted and gyrated, bounced, and raised their arms, moving to the rhythm.

Kam really liked this response. She liked it a lot!

She was so filled with energy, it was contagious. She worked all over the stage..side to side, front and back.

The trombone playing by Michael Razo had our feet thumping to the pounding beat.

Patrick Kelly dazzled us on the keys.

Kam leaned into the crowd and the response was electric.

This was their first time playing in Charleston.

Hands raised when she asked who had heard them before.  The name of a club in Houston was shouted back.

And the music played on and on.

Added lights created a great light show to add to the visual appeal and excitement.

This group, formed in 2011, has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.

And on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

As well as on The Daily Show, with Trevor Noah

So, no strangers to the appreciation of the blended mixture of cultures and music from their port city in Texas.

Their first time here in THIS port city was a real treat for us.

I hope they will come back again and again.

Kam sang a tender love song about offering food to someone and the response they were expected to give.

The song involved her making a sandwich.

My buddy nudged me and agreed, he would want a Kam sandwich!

(Click on the photos and link for more details.)

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Friday, September 23, 2016

What exactly is a "Squirrel Nut Zipper?"

 SNZ was created 20 years ago by leader Jimbo Mathus.

I can't find anything online that explains the name. 
But,  Google knows everything, so I did find at least a description of the hot retro movement sound the band makes. Whew.

Like the big bands from the 40s, there is a Lady Singer.

She brought a Betty Boop sound and style.

Ingrid Lucia really belts it out.

She sings and struts her stuff in a most pleasing manner, with some classy costume changes.

The mostly- standing, dancing, clapping crowd at the Music Hall demonstrated she was a major part of several "Show-Stoppers."

Off to the left, the fiddle man Dr. Sick, bounced, jumped, danced and did splits as he played.

Then he really caught my attention as he sat still and played on a hand saw. Yep.

My dad was a carpenter and he had many, many saws.

He had shown me how to create undulating sounds as you hit on the twisted blade. 

Pretty notes sliding up and down the scale.

The Doctor used his fiddle bow, instead of a screwdriver,  to make oddly pleasing sounds.

The first time I had seen Jimbo and his "zippers" was at the Music Farm.

This hot and lively musical seance energized the crowd and I twirled among the dancing dervish fast-paced action.

Same thing happened at the Music Hall as the crowd surrendered to the compelling beat and worked itself into a frenzy.

The building still stands after the attack of the  hot swing killer Squirrels.

I'm sure it was rocked to its foundations.

Many of the crowd stood in line after the show to snap up 20th-anniversary vinyl records.  I knew I already had the album at home.

The opening act was a real crowd-pleaser too. 

The V-Tones 6-person band took the stage with Noodle McDoodle on amped uke and his wife Eden on snare and cymbal.

Their fiddle guy was phenomenal! Catch this Charleston uke hot jug band that plays all around town.

OK, looking at my calendar and see more bands coming up next week. I'll take a breath and try to add postings to my blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Click on the photos and links for more detail and sounds.

* Never say never. Did find a link to the band's name origin.

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I was 21 older college freshman

 The University of San Diego was founded in 1949 and, 11 years later,  I found it in 1960.

Had just finished my 3.5 years as a U.S.Marine combat photographer and was still getting used to wearing civvies.

I gratefully had accepted a scholarship at the young University as the school's first "official" photographer. The 1961 yearbook was the first for the school.

One of the first people I photographed was Senator John F. Kennedy, who had come to San Diego in 1960, campaigning to become President of the United States of America.

 Just a few weeks before, I had packed up all my darkroom gear, movie camera, and Rolleiflex, left Charleston, South Carolina and headed West.

A few fellow freshmen joined me when I suggested, "let's go see the next U.S.President." 

Of course, I had my camera with me as we pushed through the crowd downtown to get closer to the platform set up on Broadway.

I recall that 56 years ago, I looked up at a policeman on the platform, told him I was the official photographer at the University, and asked if he could give me a hand getting up on the stage. The officer did.

Today is the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of the President and I have used my photo of the young man often in this blog.

Three years later, I was assigned to take his picture - as President Kennedy - when he accepted an honorary degree from San Diego State University and gave the Commencement address.

Then I was a staff photographer for the  San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper and really had actual credentials to be there with my camera.

He made his fateful trip to Dallas five months later.

I went back to USD on the 45th anniversary of my graduation.

One of the fellows who had gone downtown with me to "see the Presidental candidate" was at the reunion and we talked about that afternoon.

That was a joyful day in 1960 and one to remember.

Thanks for reading this and sharing my memory of seeing the President - twice.

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Thursday, September 08, 2016

Putting my best face forward...

Even though I have had some luck at being picked as an extra, I am reminded that snapshots are not as effective as professional headshots.

I was asked to be a husband to a delightful actress as a Background couple (BG) in a Shem Creek restaurant scene for a show called WE LOVE YOU, hopefully, to be seen on the YouTube Red subscription network.

Casting people and the film's Director may have a clear image of the character they want...or just a vague feeling. A pro headshot comes in handy in helping them make a decision.

Local production of tv shows has been fairly active and I am pleased that I was chosen as a non-speaking extra to appear on the small screen in season two of VICE PRINCIPALS and the second season of THE INSPECTORS.

Even after the scene has been shot - and after I've signed all the paperwork to be paid - there is no guarantee that it will actually get on the air.

I decided I like doing this and wanted to "up my game" with some professional headshots.

Fortunately, I know Joseph Nienstedt, a multi-talented photographer, who was all set to capture me in several headshots.

Made an appointment and Joe spent well over an hour to get a smiling shot and a more serious one. This way, I could be considered as a happy-go-lucky nice guy with a ready laugh.

Or, as a stuffy judge, politician, or even a sympathetic funeral director.

Maybe a seen-it-all detective or simply a lovable grandfather in a family setting.

Hey, I like all of those options!

I'm still basking in my nice long scene with actress Sheila Cochran where the two of us reacted to a scruffy, battered, bleeding guy
who shuffles toward us. Sheila is a great "hospital screamer!"

This is in the Adam Sandler film THE DO-OVER, that started streaming since Memorial Day on Netflix.

Ok, I have my new headshots and will send them when applying for roles in a tv show or movies filming nearby. It's a good, fun thing to do when you're retired.

And, best of all when you're picked and you nail it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

About the only time I write in cursive is my signature. Maybe I'll get to do autographs some day.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Some people purr-fer Cats.....

 It's been well documented that petting an animal - and being licked - is therapeutic.
          In a hospital or nursing home setting, it is demonstrated often when caring individuals bring their dogs in for a round of visits and patients respond favorably.
          My mom, in her 90s, was in a nursing home and benefited often from such dog-owner kindness.
          I would see several dogs going from room to room on certain days of the week and knew people were being calmed and that was a beautiful thing.
          But, my family has long been partial to cats.
          So, one day, I dusted off the cat carrier and brought my mother her 10-pound orange cat named Wallaby for a visit.
          Mom was sleeping when I arrived after lunch, and Wallaby had been noisily letting me know he was tired of being cooped up in the carrier and surrounded by the strange setting.
   An outside cat, he was used to being where he wanted to be and had trained me to understand what my role was when he stood on either side of the door,
          Yeah, he was not a happy cat. Until he realized Mom was next to him.
          He stopped making noise and started purring. Mom awoke and smiled, petting her cat.
          Wallaby had allowed me to attach a short leash to his collar and he now shared the pillow, rubbing his moist nose on Mom's hand and cheek.
          I had received permission from the staff for my stealthy cat visit, and several of Mom's caregivers stopped by to see how the visit was going. They sat her up in a wheelchair and Wallaby sat quietly in Mom's lap as she petted and rubbed him.
          There were smiles - and a few tears - as the orange-striped cat and my Mom had a short but emotional visit together.
          On the drive home, Wallaby was quiet and we both were purring a bit.

At first, Wallaby needed the leash

Together again -- after two years

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Charleston's Artesian water...

Had not really thought about Charleston's artesian water and it's funky taste for a long time.

It all came back to me yesterday when I leaned in to sip some bubbling up in a fountain on Calhoun Street at Rutledge.

Wow, just as I recalled, growing up in Ansonborough in the 1950s.

We lived on Society, the next street over from the fire station at Meeting and Wentworth.

I know that station's fountain is dry and no longer has people showing up with gallon jugs to cart that distinctive-smelling well-water home.

My grandmother lived with us and all three boys would be told to go and retrieve  some of that water for her.
Yesterday I had dropped my brother off at MUSC for an out-patient procedure and had some time to kill.

I was only a few blocks from the renovated Colonial Lake so I wandered down Rutledge - past Cannon Park's 4 columns -  to see how the lake looked now,
Pretty neat! Wide sidewalks for dog-walking and exercise.

Charleston iron benches in the dappled shade, set among long, low walls that invite you to pause, sit and reflect.

Oh, and all the plants that people were talking about.

I even spotted a shiny new water fountain that I am sure was never there before.

Wonder if it provides artesian water? Didn't think to taste it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for walking along Rutledge Avenue with me. Stop and refresh yourself at the Calhoun Street fountain!

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Messy New Orleans Jazz..."

 Went to the Sparrow in Park Circle a few night ago to see a "messy" band.

Stu Dias, the leader of Soggy Po'Boys, plays guitar with a passion and a voice to match.

Described as an Octet, I counted only 7 onstage, but I don't know how any movement, rhythm, or sound could possibly be missing.

Well, maybe a roving harp player and I don't mean a tiny harmonica.

A solid New Orleans jazz band that was formed in 2012.

The 'horn section" was especially active, ably backed by keys, drums, and an energetic upright bass.

The crowd was pleased there was no cover (really?) so when the tip jar was passed around, it was heavy with appreciation.

I salute the Sparrow for its delightful array of music and events.

It, the Mill and Madra Rua are basically in my neighborhood.

This makes a welcome change from heading downtown or to West Ashley and the Pour House.

The leader Stu told me they had just played a set at the Wednesday night series up at Awendaw Green.

They still had LOTS of energy and gave us quite a show.

A few days ago they played in Washington, DC, and worked their way down through Asheville to bring their messy Soggy Po'Boys show to the Lowcountry.

Kep an eye on the Sparrow when you're planning a night out. Lots of good surprises there. And - no smoking.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Yes, I will get back to my vacation photos but there's a lot going on!

We'll always have Paris.

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